Family & Companions
Although Stephen Gyllenhaal has several feature credits, he has distinguished himself primarily as a television director. After a childhood spent in rural Pennsylvania, he obtained his degree from Trinity College and embarked on a career making industrial films in NYC. He moved into TV with afternoon specials before settling in Los Angeles and finding steady work with primetime TV-movies, most based on true stories. Gyllenhaal first won attention for "The Abduction of Kari Swenson" (NBC, 1987), which managed to avoid sensationalization. He also steered the CBS miniseries "Family of Spies" (1990) and earned an Emmy nomination for "A Killing in a Small Town" (CBS, 1990) which featured a mesmerizing star turn by Barbara Hershey. Moving to fiction, he guided Hershey and Dennis Hopper to strong critical notices in "Paris Trout" (Showtime, 1991), based on the Pete Dexter novel. The film also was selected for the Directors Fortnight at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.
Segueing to the big screen, Gyllenhaal debuted with the teen film "Certain Fury" (1984) and followed with the underrated thriller "The New Kids" (1985). After concentrating on the small screen, he returned to theatrical releases with the offbeat but intriguing study of a teacher who works through his life crisis in the classroom "Waterdance" (1992). Gyllenhaal teamed with his screenwriter wife Naomi Foner for the less successful study of a mentally disabled woman who encounters a drunken handyman, "A Dangerous Woman" (1993), and the child custody courtroom drama "Losing Isaiah" (1995). In 1998, he steered an impressive cast (including Billy Bob Thornton, Kelly Lynch and newcomer Ryan Phillippe) in "Homegrown," a drama about marijuana farmers.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Editing (Feature Film)
Edited and associate produced first feature, "Broken Treaty at Battle Mountain"
Acted in first feature, "Not a Pretty Picture"
Helmed first short film "Exit 10"
Directed first TV special, "What Are Friends For?" an "ABC Afterschool Special"
Moved to Los Angeles with family
Produced first TV special, "Help Wanted" a "CBS Afternoon Playhouse" production (also directed)
Directed first feature, "A Certain Fury"
Wrote first screenplay for feature, "The New Kids"
Directed music video for Taylor Hackford's feature, "White Nights"
Helmed the pilot of the ABC series "Hothouse"
Earned an Emmy nomination for his direction of the TV-movie "A Killing in a Small Town" (CBS), starring Barbara Hershey
Directed the acclaimed Showtime TV-movie "Paris Trout", co-starring Dennis Hopper and Barbara Hershey
Helmed "A Dangerous Woman", produced and scripted by Naomi Foner; feature co-starred Hershey and Debra Winger
Reteamed with Naomi Foner for "Losing Isaiah"
Directed "Homegrown", a drama about marijuana farmers